Lesson: Farmyard Fun
Every week, I share a music lesson I've done with the kids at playschool. Parents can do these lessons at home as a fun musical activity, and preschool/playschool teachers can use them for their music rings.
Last week, the kids got to see baby chicks hatching from their eggs in an incubator. This week, we're continuing the theme as we learn about all the other animals and activities that happen on the farm.
Sing the Rocking the Playroom Welcome Song.
Singing: Old MacDonald
What would a farm lesson be without singing "Old Mac Donald"?! It is hands down my son's favourite song at the moment.
I've often wondered why kids love this song so much, and I'm pleased to see I'm not the only one - Abigail Connors has written a lovely blog post on this very topic!
Dancing: Can you plant a bean?
The kids have absolutely loved the Dance 'n Beats dances, so this week we'll do "Can you plant a bean" - to show the kids that farming involves more than just looking after animals.
The song starts off slowly and then gets faster and faster with each repeat. Explain the musical concepts of fast and slow. Get the kids to clap their hands slowly, then get a little bit faster, then clap very fast.
Explain that fast doesn't mean loud, but often when we play our instruments or sing faster, we often get louder! Why is that? Maybe when we are playing faster, we get more excited, so we clap our hands harder, we sing louder, or we might strum the guitar strings harder.
Do the clapping exercise again and ask the children to try and clap at the same volume - not too loud, and not too soft - the whole way through the exercise.
Go through the dance moves for "Can you plant a bean?" and then do the dance to the music.
Dancing: Old MacDonald had a Band
Play Old MacDonald had a band by Raffi. First explain what each of the instruments in the band looks like, and demonstrate how to play an "air" version of that instrument:
Teaching Song: Milking the Cows
I'm going to experiment with a little teaching song, where I sing the song to teach the kids about how the cows get milked and cared for at a dairy farm. We are lucky enough to have a commercial dairy farmer in the family, so I'll show the kids some pictures of the farm and then sing this song to them.
To include a rhythm instrument in this lesson, I'm going to bring a cabassa (I've got a kiddies' version) and then let the kids try it out. I'll get our teaching assistant/percussionist to play the cabassa in the chorus while I'm playing the guitar.
Down on the farm, there’s a herd of cows
Waiting to be milked
So they make their way to the dairy bays
And round and round they go
Round and round on the milking ring
Round and round they go
Let’s milk the cows and give them food
Round and round they go
Each cow gets food, the perfect amount
To keep them glad and strong
And if the cow is feeling bad
The vet finds out what’s wrong
The milk – comes from the cow’s – udders
The suckers get attached
And the milk flows down into great silver tanks
Waiting to be batched
Cows give us so much to eat:
Butter, milk and cream
Umkomaas and yummy cheese
And full cream yoghurt if you please!
If I'm feeling brave, I'm going to get a parachute (or even a circular tablecloth) and get the children to hold it and walk around in a circle during the chorus.
- Sing Old MacDonald. Give a few (or all) of the children a chance to call out the next animal.
- Show the children the pictures of the dairy farm and talk about the cows, the dairy, the milking process - this will build the children's vocabulary.
- Farmers need rain for their crops. Show the children a rainstick and let them listen as the beads fall down the stick. Ask them what they think it sounds like. Let them each have a turn to play the rainstick.
Looking for more fun musical activities to do with your kids?
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